We all do it! Our colleague at work is late and we assume they got up late. The person driving in front of us, that just cut us up, is probably an old man / a female driver. The person driving their car at speed on the motorway (highway) is either impatient, a young male racer or late for work. We pass judgement almost every minute of every day, never actually knowing the truth.
And the majority of the time we don’t even have a chance of finding out what the truth really is. You’re not likely, for example, going to follow the car that just sped passed you to find out why! I hope not anyway.
Lets face it – it doesn’t help us does it. Judgement can lead to anger and in the case of driving, road rage.
When we pass judgement on others we fail to realise the most obvious consequence – we are defining who we are.
You’re doing your job and someone makes a passing remark that annoys you. So you confront the person and they are adamant that what they’ve said is correct, even though you know otherwise. The confrontation becomes louder, goes onto an argument and you start shouting.
You passed judgement on a remark someone made. It could have been a racist comment, sexist, abusive or just demeaning. Bite the moment you decided to make more of it in front of your colleagues, you defined yourself.
You are the person that shouted. You are the person that continued with the argument. You are one half of the pair that escalated the situation.
Don’t misunderstand me. Any racist, sexist or any other form of demeaning remark should be quashed there and then. The difference is knowing when to stop before it escalates and deal with the matter in a closed office with an arbitrator.
The same goes for losing your temper when you get cut off whilst driving. You shout, become animated and you blood pressure goes up – never a good thing. Instead you could have realised that it’s already happened and done. In reality, you haven’t lost any ground, you’re still where you were before. There’s just another car in front of you.
Where is the judgement
So where’s the judgement in these situations?
This split second you decided to make anything a confrontation rather than finding out they why you passed judgement. Really, though, to ask why you already made the judgement – what was said or done was not or may not have been correct.
We can’t help but to make judgement calls. It is part of our nature and what we hold to be true and false, right and wrong.
But who’s to say that our perception of something is right or wrong, false or true? You might not be religious but you may have heard of the phrase in the Bible when Jesus said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7, KJV).
The point here is that we judge others but ignore to judge our own actions and words when doing so.
The end of judgement
Okay! The title is dramatic. Can we stop passing judgement? No, not really.
We can be more aware of how we feel at any moment in time and take control of our emotions, rather than our emotions taking control of us.
We can choose when, to what and how we react, deciding that we are in charge of the emotional train that continually runs through us and sometimes completely derails, ending in shouting matches, anger and sometimes a physical altercation.
It’s deciding to not judge a situation but see it for what it is – a momentary lapse in someone else’s judgement.
Deal with what must be dealt with calmly and purposefully, State what you want to say but don’t get led down the path of argument. If more needs to be done, do so the right way.
When you lose your temper, when you shout or get angry, you are showing others that you are no longer in control of your mental functions – you have lost control. And that leads others to pass judgement on you, something you never have control over.
So what do I do
Exercise refrain. When something happens you will subconsciously make a judgement call or pass judgement, because it’s what you’ve always done. Letting go of this will be a challenge at first, but you will soon realise that having this emotional control will bring you peace of mind.
Try counting to ten, or from ten to zero. You might even need to start at hundred. Give yourself a minute or five minutes. Make up a story in your mind that you would prefer for a reason why something was said or done.
For example, the person that cut in front of you did so because they are nervous about and upcoming meeting – doesn’t make it perfect but you know that you’ve been in similar situations.
The best way is to let it be, when you can and realise that in 60 seconds it will have past. Let the car in, let the pedestrian cross, be present and know that nothing stays the same forever.
Being non-judgemental is not just about the other person. It’s selfish, it’s about you, your state of mind, your health.
It’s about defining you and how you want to define yourself.
When you judge others you do not define them, you define yourself.
Jettison the judgement and you are saved. And who is there to prevent this jettison?